Instagram admits mistake over moderating racist comments

The boss of Instagram has admitted the social media company made a mistake when it failed to deal with racist abuse targeted at footballer Bukayo Saka.

Saka, alongside Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, was hit with horrific abuse following their penalty misses in the Euro 2020 final.

Unbelievably, Instagram failed to identify and remove the racist comments and emojis posted on their accounts.

Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram in the US, said the issue has now been fixed.

‘We have technology to try and prioritise reports and we were mistakenly marking some of these as benign comments, which they are absolutely not,’ he told BBC News.

‘The issue has since been addressed.

‘Reports on these types of comments should [now] be reviewed properly.’

Can you please explain why a comment on Saka’s page with orangutan emojis was found to “probably” not be violating guidelines then? I requested a review and still haven’t heard back. These emojis have been reported as an issue for a while — why has it not been programmed?

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has pledged ‘tough new laws’ to make platforms clamp down on racism.

Fines would be issued to the web giants if they failed to take action under the Online Safety Bill, which was published in a draft form earlier this year.

In another move, the Government is changing the football banning order regime to cover online racism, according to the PM.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, Boris Johnson said he ‘utterly condemns and abhors’ the racist abuse received by the players.

Mr Johnson told MPs he met representatives from Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and Twitter at Downing Street.

He said: ‘I made it absolutely clear to them that we will legislate to address this problem Mr Speaker in the Online Harms Bill and unless they get hate and racism off their platforms they will face fines amounting to 10% of their global revenues. We all know that they have the technology to do it.’

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